Why follow a GAPS diet?

Why follow a GAPS diet?

You may have heard of GAPS – it has recently been attracting much attention. What is it and why would you follow a GAPS diet?

GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome and is an adaptation of the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride who used it to heal her autistic son. GAPS has been a popular diet in the Autism community for years but is now gaining recognition with people who have many other digestive and behavioral disorders including depression, IBS and ADHD.

As the original name suggests, this diet allows SPECIFIC types of Carbohydrates only. It aims to heal the gut by avoidance of foods that require more digestion and which (when the digestive system is irritated and/or damaged) can cause bacterial and yeast overgrowth. Dr Campbell-McBride believes that because more than 90% of toxins in our blood (and that leak into the brain) come from the gut, then focusing on gut healing will drop the level of toxicity in the body quite dramatically.

GAPS only allows the Monosaccharide’s – the carbohydrates that are easiest to digest and absorb (for example fruits, non starchy vegetables and honey).

What can you eat if you’re on GAPS?

Meat, fish, chicken, eggs, fruit, broths, fermented vegetables, non-starchy vegetables, honey, seeds, nuts, fruit & vegetable juices, animal fat, ghee, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, some beans, almond & coconut milk, nut flours. In advanced stages fermented dairy is allowed.

GAPS might seem to be quite overwhelming to begin with, but giving your gut a rest and allowing some healing to take place can produce some profound results. While it’s not a miracle cure and not for everyone, it’s definitely an exciting option for many people who have otherwise been unable to resolve their digestive and behavioral conditions.


Article Submitted by Kris Barrett – Nourish Me

Website: www.nourishmehealth.com.au

Follow on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/nourishmehealth


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Is Grazing Making You Fat?

Is Grazing Making You Fat?

Health experts often say that having several small meals a day can really help activate your metabolism so grazing could be a good idea for those wishing to lose weight.

I myself find it hard to do this and prefer, like many people to have 3 meals a day and snacks, but it does depend on the choices you make with food. If you choose to graze on food that is high in fat and dense in calories it could wreak havoc with your weight. Two key components that assist with weight loss is being active and having a metabolism that is working well. If your aim is to avoid weight gain then here are some tips:


  1. It is a proven fact that obese/overweight people eat most of their food in the dark so eat the majority of your food in daylight.
  2. Have a diet that includes lots of natural coloured food rather than white and brown food. This would eliminate many of the snack foods that are not healthy options.
  3. As you graze ask yourself am I eating this food because I am hungry or just for the pleasure of eating it.
  4. Missing meals can lead to binge eating or yo-yo dieting so avoid this as much as possible.
  5. Limit the amount of processed food you have and keep it fresh as possible, aim for 40% raw food in your day.

Article submitted by Annette Syms – Symply Too Good Too Be True  1-6 are sold in all good newsagencies. Visit Annette’s website www.symplytoogood.com.au for more tips and recipes.


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Antioxidants have been the talk of healthcare for decades, known as the fearsome fighters of the free radical cells that tend  to do damage in our bodies. So what are they and why do we need them? Stephen Eddey, Principal of Health Schools Australia explains.

Antioxidants are found commonly in healthy foods as well as naturally in our bodies. They have been shown to help combat the activity of free radicals and oxidation in the body, the processes that are at the root of ageing-related health issues. These processes are a result of normal metabolic processes, and are often enhanced by external stressors such as environmental toxins, poor diet, stress and more. If free radical activity and oxidation can be minimised by enhancing your internal antioxidant levels, you may feel an increased sense of vitality as your body may be functioning more efficiently.

Here are five easy ways to up your body’s natural antioxidant levels:

  • Blueberries

Not only are they tasty and moreish, blueberries have also been consistently recognised as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities when compared against other fruits, vegetables and spice. Anthocyanins are the compounds found in blueberries are responsible for the antioxidant power they provide, as they are the driving force behind minimising free radical activity and oxidation.

Blueberries are most beneficial when eaten in their raw form, not only to keep the important nutrients and enzymes intact, but also to enjoy the best flavour possible. A handful of raw blueberries can be easily added to your breakfast muesli or oats, your daily juice or smoothie, or eaten as a light snack mixed into some yogurt with a bit of ginger (for an added immune boost!).

  • Acai Berry

As an alternative to blueberries, acai berry is continuing to become a popular addition to the diet for its wealth of health benefits, including its super antioxidant power. Acai is an inch-long, dark purple berry that originates from the acai palm tree, which is native to the Amazon rainforest region. As with blueberries, anthocyanin is the compound found in acai that provides this berry with its impressive antioxidant properties.

Most commonly consumed when added to a juice, acai may also be blended and topped with pieces of banana and granola, or frozen and eaten with a spoon as a sweet snack in the warmer summer months.

  • Ubiquinol

CoQ10 has long been known as a powerful antioxidant that helps to minimise free radical activity and associated age-related symptoms. Ubiquinol is the active and reduced form of CoQ10 produced naturally in the body. It is three to eight times more absorbable than traditional CoQ10 providing important antioxidant support and cellular energy.

Studies have shown that as we age, the natural levels of CoQ10 in our body decreases, begin at around the age of 30. In addition, the older we get, the harder it becomes to convert Ubiquinone to Ubiquinol, which is the form it is required in to help power our cells.

Whilst the need to restore natural Ubiquinol levels has been established, the ability to achieve sufficient levels simply through food containing Ubiquinol (such as red meat, chicken, spinach and peanuts) may not be achievable without eating these foods in excessive quantities.  

Japanese scientists have recently discovered a stabilised form of Ubiquinol which is not prone to oxidation and which is readily absorbed into the body, marking a significant breakthrough in supporting cellular energy and helping to maintain a healthy heart and vascular system. Ubiquinol is available through leading Australian nutritional supplementation brands. Ask your health practitioner or local pharmacist for the best product for you.

  • Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are an important source of the trace mineral manganese, which itself supports antioxidant capacity. Kidney beans have also been shown to be particularly rich in flavonoids, which represent one of the most important classes of antioxidants.  Kidney beans are particularly good when eaten in simmered dishes so that they can absorb the flavours and seasonings from the surrounding foods within which they are cooked.

  • Lucuma

Lucuma powder comes from the subtropical fruit of Pouteria lucuma tree, which is native to Peru, Child and Equador. The anti-oxidant rich fruit is yellow-green and egg-shaped with a dry, starchy yellow-orange flesh. It has been described as having a “unique, maple-like taste that is a delight for a variety of recipes”.

Lucuma may be used as a natural sweetener in breakfasts, desserts, juices, smoothies and more. Using lucuma in baking is an easy way to fortify the nutritional content of the recipe without increasing your blood sugar levels. As lucuma is naturally sweet but low on the Glycaemic Index, it is a healthy choice for individuals seeking to minimise their sugar consumption.

For more information visit www.kanekaqh.info/

Consult your healthcare practitioner on strategies for your health.

About Stephen Eddey

Stephen Eddey is a qualified Nutritionist and Naturopath and is the Principal of Australia’s longest established natural medicine college, Health Schools Australia. He has completed a Bachelor of Complementary Medicine as well as a Masters in Health Science.

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Finding time to exercise

Finding time to exercise

Do you always try to exercise but everything just gets in the way?

Whether we are caring for a newborn, chasing after toddlers, driving kids to school or rushing to work, there is always something that is taking our time.

I sometimes feel like there is a vortex that is sucking my time away and the older I get, the quicker time goes.

In a Melpomene study, a large number of women found that they exercised less and less after their baby was born.They found one of the main reasons was that they were unable to find babysitting.


With more and more women also working outside the home and having to juggle kids with housework and their careers, you can see why exercise gets pushed down the list.  Not to mention the tiredness women feel after these busy days.

So how can you find time to exercise?

First you have to make time – Work out where you time goes each day and then schedule time to exercise, even if it is only for 15-30 mins.

Do something you enjoy – if you don’t enjoy running on a treadmill, then it will be easy to push it down the list of priorities. Play a team sport, start rock climbing or go for a hike with your family.

Exercise with the kids – If it is hard to get babysitting, exercise with your kids.   Go to our “Involving the kids” section for some great kids games.  If they are little, wait to you put them down for a sleep and then follow one of our workouts – they are quick and effective.

Do it with a friend – If you like catching up with friends, why not combine exercise with a chat.  Go for a walk along the beach, ride a bike or go for a swim. It is amazing how much more fun exercise can be with a friend.

It only takes 30 minutes a day to make real changes to your health and fitness. If you are determined, you will make the time.

Submitted by Mireille Ryan for What Can I Eat

Busy Mums Fitness Club


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Food Allergy and Food Intolerance

Food Allergy and Food Intolerance

Food Allergy and Food Intolerance… the difference.


One in five individuals in Australia have at least one allergy, which places Australia with one of the highest prevalence's of allergy amongst the developed world (1). If the present trend continues it is estimated that there will be a 70% increase in the number of Australians with allergies by 2050, which correlates to 7.7 million people (1).

The high and ever increasing prevalence of food allergy and atopic disease has researchers identifying genetic predisposition as a risk factor, where in children with neither parent having an allergy, the child will have a 20% chance of having one allergy disorder (2). If one parent has an allergy disorder the risk increases to ≈ 40%. If both parents have allergy disorders then the risk increases to 60 – 70%. In addition to genetics some studies reveal the importance of the impact of environmental influences (2).

Researches from the John Hopkins Children Centre believe there is a trend toward more severe and more persistent allergies (3). However it should be noted that the severity of allergy presentation in a family history is not a good predictive guide as to how sensitive a child may be (4). In many cases when the presentation of allergy or food intolerance in the parent is only mild the possibility of allergy or food intolerance being related to a child’s symptoms can be overlooked (4).

The allergen pathway commences before the child is born, with allergens crossing the placenta, programming the immune system down the allergy pathway (4). This impact commences about halfway through the pregnancy, which is the time a mother could start focusing on minimising allergen exposure via modifying the maternal diet and minimising environmental factors (4).

The modification of the maternal diet encompasses a varied diet based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines (4). It discourages bingeing on any food in the second half of the pregnancy and during breastfeeding (4). There should be the total avoidance of egg, seed, peanut and nut (from the household) (4). There are precautions to take with respect to milk and dairy foods, and also fish and other seafood, and a minimisation of one’s intake of soybeans and other legumes (4). With respect to meats, allergies can occur, with pork allergy tending to be more likely to occur when eaten with fat (4).

It is recommended that lean meats are consumed. Wheat, oats, barley and buckwheat can all cause allergy and tend to only cause symptoms in highly allergic infants (4). In relation to vegetables, potato allergy is commonly seen in the highly allergic child, however in general there is no reason to modify vegetable intake during pregnancy (4). This may, however, be necessary during breastfeeding as some infants may react to tomato and spicy foods (5). Of the fruits the avoidance of the citrus family is recommended, with the reactions occurring to fruit often being related to a food intolerance rather than an allergy (5). Kiwifruit is the most allergenic fruit with the possibility of allergy development in the highly sensitive child (4).

The environmental measures include the total avoidance of cigarette smoke, ensuring houses are well ventilated, particularly kitchens where there are gas cook tops, and taking dust mite allergen precautions and pet precautions, particularly with respect to cats, rabbits, guineas pigs and mice (4). There should be total latex avoidance, in particular powdered latex products that cause the allergy to develop (4).

The allergen pathway highlights the possibility of the presentation of allergy related symptoms early in life, with researchers identifying that 2.2% – 5.5% of infants have food hypersensitivity during the first year of life (5). In the presentation of allergy in children we usually find that they are allergic to two or three different foods, with the most common being peanut, egg, milk, other nuts, seafood and sesame. Wheat, soy and rice can also cause allergies (5).

We should also consider the possibility of food intolerances. There is often confusion about the difference between allergy and intolerance and the terms are sometimes used in place of one another. There is a difference between food allergy and intolerance both in the types of foods and the way they affect individuals.

The immunological basis to Food Allergy

In the normal process of digestion food proteins are broken down in to smaller proteins (peptides) by enzymes in the stomach and the small intestine (7).  These smaller particles are prevented from entering the tissues of the small intestine by physiological and immunological barriers (7).

However, on occasions, small proteins (peptides) are absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract, which initiates an immunological response (7). Whether this initiates an allergic (Ig-E mediated) or intolerant response (Non Ig-E mediated) is dependent on the genetics of the individual, the characteristics of the food protein and the microenvironment.  It is the interaction of these components, which leads to the development of a Food Allergy or Food Intolerance (7).

The classic allergic response manifest as urticaria (hives), angioedema and anaphylaxis; the more delayed allergic response may manifest as inflammation in the colon or skin or enterocolitis or eczema respectively (7).

Classic IgE – immunological mediated allergic response…. How does it start?

The food protein enters the body via the gut or lung mucosa. Once inside the tissue, these proteins are then engulfed by specialised cells (deneretic cells) (7). This then stimulates B cells to produce Th2 cells (7) this results in a stimulation of cells, which results in the production of antibodies. These antibodies bind to mast cells in the tissue or basophils in the blood and stay in the tissue for months. This process is called sensitization (7). These antibodies are known as specific IgE antibodies. On a subsequent occasion when the body is then exposed to this food protein the protein binds to the antibody. This results in the breakdown of these cells and the subsequent release of histamine, prostaglandins, leukotrienes, platelet activation factors and bradikynin (7). These chemicals result in vascular dilation and hyperpermeability, which attract cells into the tissue, which results in inflammation (7). Skin Prick Tests (SPT) and Radioallergosorbent Test (RAST) are used to diagnose Ig E immune mediated food allergy.

Non – IgE – Immune mediated Food Allergy

The mechanism to non-IgE mediated food intolerant reaction is not always clear.  There have been several research studies, which have investigated the Immunological basis of gastrointestinal non-IgE allergies.  These have clearly identified the involvement of T- cells (Th1 and? Th2) and cells such as oeosinophils (7).  The mechanism encompasses the initial exposure of the protein to the tissue, which results in the sensitization of the T- cell (7).  Then, the subsequent exposure results in the release of inflammatory chemicals (cytokines), which lead to chronic inflammation (7).  The presentation of non-immune mediated food allergy can present at all ages.

There are diagnostic difficulties associated with the diagnosis of non-IgE mediated food allergies.  The diagnostic tools include biopsy and patch testing (7).  Patch testing has a role in eosinophillic oesophagitis and atopic dermatitis, although we sometimes use it to help identify foods that may be causing bowel disturbance. When the food is placed in contact with the skin, the specialized cells in the skin pick up the food proteins and present it to the immune system. If the individual has sensitivity to that food, they will react with inflammation at the site of the food over the next 2-3 days. This gives us a window to what is happening in the gastrointestinal tract with foods.

Non allergic food hypersensitivity / food intolerance

A non-allergic food hypersensitivity is usually characterised by a delayed reaction, which can occur hours or even days after eating (7).  The sensitivity to certain foods is defined as the inability to properly process and fully digest certain foods, leading to chronic symptoms. A food sensitivity / intolerance does not involve the immune system though rather involves the stimulation of nerve endings in tissues by a chemical component which may be naturally occurring, an additive, or a combination (6). These include amines, salicylates, glutamates, preservatives and colours.  Symptoms of food intolerance are extensive and variable. They can be very similar to those of an allergic response. Symptoms of allergic reaction are usually sudden, while intolerance response may sometimes occur straight after ingesting a problem food or have a delayed response. Symptoms may take 12-24 hours to develop. The severity of symptoms can also depend on the quantity of the problem food ingested. They may not occur until a threshold amount is ingested.

Where to from here?

A child that continually screams when being breast fed, has unsettled sleep patterns, wakes moaning with writhing, has loose stools, is colicky, has slow weight gain, reflux, eczema, nappy rash, or displays irritable, impulsive or overactive behaviour, should prompt us to consider the possibility of food allergy/food intolerance. 
An experienced dietician, while awaiting an appointment with an allergist, can undertake the initial investigation of a possible food allergy/food intolerance.  Once identified then an appropriate management plan can be established. Continual guidance and support are key factors in the management of these conditions, through what can be a challenging time for children and their families.


1. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, November 2007, Economic Impact of Allergies.
2. Professor Mimi Tang, SBS, TV Allergy program, October 2007, Allergic Reaction: Children and their allergies.
3. Dr Velencia Soutter, December 2007, email communication.
4. Royal Prince Alfred Allergy Resources, Food Allergy Prevention.
5. Scott H. Sicherer, MD, Donald Y.M. Leung, MD, PhD, June 2007, Food allergy, anaphylaxis, dermatology and drug allergy, Journal of Clinical Immunology, Advances in Asthma, Allergy and Immunology Series 2007, pp 1462 1469.
6. Dr Robert Loblay, SBS, TV Allergy program, October 2007, Allergic Reaction: Children and their allergies 7. Isabel Skypala and Carina Venter, Food Hypersensitivity, Diagnosing and Managing Food Allergies and Intolerances, Blackwell Publishing 2009.


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Drink to Your Digestive Health!

Drink to Your Digestive Health!

Cultured or fermented drinks have been traditionally consumed for thousands of years to aid digestion, heal the gut, build immunity and help with detoxification. Originally though, these food staples still prized in many cultures were borne out of necessity as a way of preserving extra produce after a harvest that would spoil if not consumed at once.


The simple beauty of culturing or fermentation is that this process creates a nutrient-dense, enzyme-rich live food that is easily assimilated by the body. By an amazing alchemical process known as lacto fermentation the friendly bacteria naturally present together with those added by a culture starter dine on the sugars and quickly lower the PH creating a more acidic environment where the bacteria are able to reproduce and replicate quite prolifically. They are able to convert the starches and sugars into lactic acid, which as a natural preservative inhibits the growth of pathogens and preserves the nutrients.


Culturing your drinks takes your nutrition to a whole other level of wellness by helping to re establish your inner ecosystem. We all now know of the gut- brain connection and how approximately 75% of the neurotransmitters found in our gut also reside in the brain. So it would make sense to find ways of increasing our good gut bacteria and therefore improving mood, cognition, vitality and wellbeing in general. Consuming cultured liquids is a great practice to introduce to children to help build immunity and aid digestion and are especially helpful for those with food intolerances – a perfect example of using food as medicine as a preventative. Using small amounts to start with they can be added to smoothies or yoghurts or as a base for ice cream or ice blocks.


A good place to start is Young Coconut Kefir where we can culture the water from a young green coconut (not the hairy brown type) and transform an already nutritious, mineral rich liquid full of electrolytes into a powerhouse of probiotic nutrition.  The culturing process creates a drink where the nutrients are increased one hundred fold and the liquid becomes much more hydrating and bioavailable for the body as well creating a powerful fortress against foreign invading pathogens.


There are plenty of other healing fermented drinks you might like to investigate and slowly integrate into your family’s diet: milk kefir, kombucha, beet kvass, water kefir, rejuvalac just to name a few. Like me you might just get the ‘bug’ and wonder how you ever did without them!


Article submitted by: Kitsa  –  Kitsa’s Kitchen


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